How Big And Deep Should A Tray Ceiling Be?

Tray ceilings are used to bring dimension and drama to a room. Similar to a coffered ceiling, this can also entice all the people who will enter the space to look up. If you are considering or planning to add this to your space, you must be wondering what is the right depth and size of it.  We've researched this topic for you and here is what we found:

The tray ceiling's size depends on the frame size of the room and how you want to portray it, same with how deep it should be. However, it is usually dug up an inch to a foot upwards from your ceiling. 

In this article, we'll take a look at how to figure out the right size and depth for your space. Then, we'll also discuss how it can be achieved, how much the installation costs, whether it's a good choice for your home, and more. Read on to learn all about it!

Seamless white ceiling with recessed lighting and a ceiling fan on the middle, How Big And Deep Should A Tray Ceiling Be?

The Right Tray Ceiling Size and Depth For You

There are no hard rules on how big or deep a tray ceiling should be. Every household or interior varies in how it looks and how well a tray ceiling will blend with the space. Whichever feels right and appealing to your eyes is what's right.

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Interior of a classic country kitchen with brown tile flooring, wooden countertop and a tray ceiling with recessed lighting and dangling lamps

It will be easier to determine the right size and depth of your tray ceiling after you figure out what you want the finish to look like. 

If you haven't decided yet, here is a list of what you can consider when deciding on and designing your tray ceiling. 

  • Size of the room and ceiling
  • Design of the tray ceiling 
  • Role of the tray ceiling 

Size Of The Room And Ceiling

Ideally, tray ceilings look best in a big room. It can create more decoration for a wide space along with rugs, paint color, furniture, and accessories to add dynamics.

But that does not mean that it can't be installed in smaller spaces. There are a lot of designs that can accommodate the size of your room and ceiling which we will talk about in a while. 

Design Of The Tray Ceiling

If we are going to go through every tray ceiling design that is present, you may be overwhelmed. Instead, what you can do is decide what shape you want it to be. Usually, rectangular or square spaces are often paired with the same shape as the ceiling—just a smaller version of it that looks like the tray ceiling's frame. But again, that depends on how you want it. 

There are also unusual chosen shapes that you can choose from like circles, ovals, or any other form. Below are some images to illustrate what they look like in actuality. 

Keep it clean

We may include affiliate links and curated AI content to highlight top design styles.

Modern spacious bedroom with tray ceiling, dark hardwood flooring and a gorgeous chandelier hanged on the center

In this case, the designers stayed with a clean, white color for the tray ceiling. At the center is a simple, but elegant chandelier.

This design helps the space feel open and bright, accentuating the natural light from the windows.

Accentuate accessories

Rustic inspired living room interior with a patterned area rug and white painted walls

Instead of staying with clean, white paint throughout, this designer chose a natural wooden finish for the molding in the tray ceiling. The wooden finish matches the wooden furniture throughout the room.

You can use a technique like this to accentuate key features of a space. While this design accentuates the wood for a natural, rustic feel, you could also go for colored paint and accessories for a more modern spin.

Go for baroque

Luxurious modern bedroom interior with bay window, grey curtain cove and white tray ceiling with a classic candle chandelier

This design sticks with white throughout the ceiling like the first example. However, this tray ceiling creates a very different feel with its use of ornament.

The molding is wider and creates more layers, and the ornamental disc and elegant chandelier add a feeling of luxury to this room.

This approach to design is ideal for those who want their space to feel opulent. Sticking with simple colors will help you achieve extravagance without slipping into ostentatiousness.

Role Of The Tray Ceiling

Also, decide on what role your ceiling tray will portray. You can make it a focal point of the room. You can do this by hanging ornaments that are multi-functional like chandeliers or ceiling fans. Depending on what type of lighting or fan you will buy, you can determine how deep the tray ceiling should be. 

Other than that, here are some more tips you can do to decorate your tray ceiling:

  • Paint it the same color as your walls for a minimalistic and cohesive look.
  • Choose a paint that is a shade darker or lighter than what is on the wall to obtain a contrasting finish. 
  • Opt for a mural that you want. The painting can be any story that you want to tell any person who will enter the vicinity. 
  • Go for crown molding around the tray ceiling for a more sophisticated and expensive look.
  • Install lighting. It doesn't always have to be a chandelier or a ceiling fan with a light feature. It can be a single thread of LED strip light along the outline or inside of the tray ceiling. This can highlight the space and even enhance it since it can come in different colors which scatter on the nearby spots, resulting in a gradient color look. 

Check out this led strip light on Amazon.

To learn more about color combinations you can do to your ceiling and wall, read this: 11 Fabulous Wall And Ceiling Color Combinations

Can You Install It By Yourself?

If you are not a professional builder and want to install a new tray ceiling from scratch, then it is best to leave the job to the professionals since it requires complex steps and technical skills. However, there are DIY faux tray ceilings that can be bought now. It can easily be attached to the existing ceiling to achieve the same effect as the original one. 

If you want to make it look more real, paint the inner portion or center of the faux tray ceiling with a different color to make it more like a 3-dimensional part.

How Much Is The Installation Of Tray Ceiling Costs?

White tray ceiling with a matching dark brown ceiling fan and recessed lighting

The price of installation varies on the size of your home, the location where it is being installed, the details you want to add to the tray ceiling, local labor cost, etc. The estimated cost is $1,500 to $10,000 or more. Here is more specific pricing:

If mounting and building or edges are required to do the work, it will range from $1,500 to $3,000 per ceiling. This is usually located on the first floor where the ceiling's height is fixed and cannot be raised anymore. However, if the project includes altering an area to give more space to the ceiling, it will cost $10,000 or more

Is Tray Ceiling Worth It?

Now that we've come across how to determine how big and deep your tray ceilings are, what designs you can do, and the price of installation, let us proceed to discuss if choosing to add it to your home's finishing touch is worth it. Here are the pros and cons of having a tray ceiling.

Pros Of Tray Ceiling 

Aside from its exquisite addition of detail to your house, here are more benefits that you can get from having a tray ceiling in your household. 

  • It can create an illusion that your ceiling is higher due to the depth that it contributes to the flat surface.
  • A tray ceiling can serve as a highlight in the room. If you are not the type of person to hang a lot of decorations on the walls or go extra on the ornaments on the furniture and the floor, a tray ceiling can entertain your guest's eyes for you. 
  • Also, since it provides more depth to the area, the room can also appear larger than its original width.

Cons Of Tray Ceiling

Despite the advantages of tray ceilings on the household appearance and people's eyes, there are drawbacks also. For example,  when the added drop-down border can make the ceiling lower. This can make the space look smaller and for people who have a phobia of this, it can cause them to feel discomfort. 

Can Tray Ceiling Add Value To Your Home?

Yes, installing a tray ceiling can add value to your home due to the added style and benefits to your house. This architectural design can easily turn a plain, flat, and boring room into a luxurious-looking one, upgrading it to a new whole level and giving the occupants a new feeling of experience. 

Refinishing your home's interior? Find out what you should pay attention to first here: Should You Paint The Ceiling Or Walls First?


Seamless white ceiling with recessed lighting and a ceiling fan on the middle

The size of a tray ceiling may depend on the room size and the preference of the owner. Meanwhile, its depth may vary from 1 inch up to 12 inches. Again, the deepness that will be applied depends on the finish that is wanted. However, several factors can influence this such as the ornament that you will put—the most common are chandeliers and ceiling fans. 

If you aren't skilled and knowledgeable enough, tray ceilings can't be installed by yourself.  Especially if you are working from scratch or putting it in complex spots since may require altering an area, building, or mounting. However, you can buy DIY faux versions of this if you do not want professional help since it is not cheap to hire a builder to do this task. 

If you found this article helpful, check out these great posts:

11 Unique Ceiling Ideas for Living Room You Need to See

How Can I Decorate my Bedroom Ceilings [10 Awesome Suggestions]

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One comment

  1. Thank you for this information it was very helpful. I am considering changing the look of my living room sealing but I was not sure this was an option. I will do some more investigating before I decide.

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